It’s really late tonight, and I’m so exhausted that I can’t sleep. Does that ever happen to you? Your head hits the pillow and while your body so badly wants to go into dreamland, your mind can’t stop racing with thoughts? I find that it’s better for me to just get up and do something when that happens to me, so why not do a little blogging?
Today was a really big day. I’m the Communication Arts Director at a large church, and we’ve been preparing for months for a one-day conference we put on at our church annually for people in church leadership in our region. Nearly 700 people came, and it was an awesome day where you could see the unity of God’s Church wanting to get better together with one goal in mind: more effectively and relevantly reaching their circles of influence for Christ. It’s a beautiful picture.
Anyway, it was at this conference where the latest edition of our church’s magazine was debuted, and it will be distributed to our congregation this weekend. I decided to write a little article about our experience with Josiah’s autism and how when something unexpected hits your family that it can shake your faith a bit, cause you to ask a lot of questions, and change everything about life–but that we can find hope. I really wonder how God is going to use our story to not only reach out to others who are going through something similar, but also to bring peope into our lives to offer insight and encouragement to us as we walk through this journey.
It already started today. After one of the sessions that I helped teach, a woman came up to me and said she had just read my story and that she has a daughter with autism too, who’s now 11. She so quickly offered to meet with me and be a support and voice of experience. As we got to talking for a few minutes, she asked me where I had my son in therapy. I told her that he goes to Partners in Excellence, and she said that’s where her daughter goes! Okay, these sort of meetings have got to be a God thing. She went on to say that she and her husband had developed some small group curriculum for churches that focuses on families who have children with special needs. You can check out their website: http://www.surreiasplace.com/. We’re going to meet soon. I’m really interested to see where this might lead… stay tuned.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since my husband and I have been going through this journey with autism it’s that it can be such a lonely, confusing ride. It’s hard to find the right systems of support–people who’ve been there, and can also offer resources and encouragement that are on the same page as you are. Little by little, we’re starting to make some connections with other parents who have children with special needs, and I’m hoping that God will work this whole “community” and relationship piece out. It’s huge. I also realize my compassion radar is so up for people who are just getting the diagnosis for their child. Those early days are soul-ripping, and I want to be there for them, just as I need other moms there for me as we continue on this treadmill toward healing (ours and Josiah’s).
So, here we go. God, what do you have in store? It says in the Bible that God “works all things together for good for those who love him and keep his commands.” I want to see how going through this fire is going to work out, and I’m expectantly looking for more opportunities where I can say, “That had to be a God thing.”
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:1-5